Garden

At last, success with my hotbin composter

At last, I can truly celebrate success with my hotbin composter. It’s taken a while but finally I am seeing my hard work pay off and I’m getting some lovely usable compost.

You guys have been with me on this journey as I’ve battled to get the ratios right, the moisture level under control and enough waste to keep the bin hot, but thanks to some of my lovely neighbours who now give me their kitchen waste and old newspapers, we are winning this battle. Just to refresh your memories, we got the hotbin composter a few seasons ago now and we were full of excitement at the claims that you could go from kitchen and garden waste and in 3 months have lovely rich compost for the garden. And for me, the big claim that you didn’t have to turn it was a big win as I had struggled physically with turning a large, traditional compost pile.

I have to be honest, there wasn’t 100% success straight away, although truth be told, it wasn’t that far away. I found that generally, we just didn’t have enough garden waste (we don’t have a large garden and we don’t have a lot of shrubs etc that give us prunings) and we definitely didn’t have enough kitchen waste and we absolutely weren’t able to feed enough brown like paper into the bin. So the result was that anything coming out of the bin in terms of compost was very wet. We also struggled to see the bin maintain those hot temperatures advertised. It did get hot, we just struggled to maintain it. However, we knew the issues were not the bin itself, more about getting our process down, so that has been my mission over this past year and I’m happy to say that we have just had our first batch of new compost that wasn’t soaking wet, didn’t smell and was almost usable straight away – hurrah!

I say almost usable as it is still a bit too course for my purposes and will need to be sieved (filtered) and to do that I will need to dry it out a little. But that’s a whole different battle in the Scottish climate. Overall though, I am seriously chuffed.

It’s been a week now and I still haven’t managed to get it dry enough to sieve because it’s pretty much rained non stop, but hopefully, some good weather next week will let me lay it out on a tarp, get it dried and then sieved so that I have some lovely fine compost for pots etc. Until then, it will just have to live in a sack behind the shed.

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4 Comments

  1. Great to hear of your composting success. It’s definitely a great bit of kit as long as you definitely follow the ratios ( and the roughage bit with pruning etc seems to be key). Very glad I got mine – all thanks to your heads up. Ps tomatoes in quadgrows along with cougettes and jalapeรฑos progressing really well. There’s even a blue variety growing away. Happy days! ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. You definitely have a productive gardening going… how did you get on with your herbs and petunias this year?

  3. Petunias? Funny you should mention. Lol. See AGAIN I got the confidence to sow those thanks to your blog. The project got a bit out of control but in a good way. I think there were nearly 300 potted on plants but it was so nice to be able to share them around in lock down. Cheap as chips! Same went for the cuc and tomato plants. The blues have travelled to several homes so it will be interesting to get a tasting test on those by other folk if they survive. I’ve got pots of various mint and orange thyme on the go and also dill. I’m making jars of sweet gherkins and bread and butter pickles at the mo so the dill is specifically for those. A new thing for me is the globe artichoke. I’ve tried various planting sites but It’s been battle of the slugs to be honest. Tme will tell as to who wins that one. Irish weather half way up a mountain isn’t great for them either. Oh and spurred on by you I encouraged our wild seeded foxgloves to flourish by spreading seedlings and some more established plants around the borders. They blooming well grow anywhere which is great. Some are now beautiful magenta giants – one reached about five foot I think. So nice to hear bumbles vibrating in them.
    Lookin’ forward to your next installment Eli – I envy you your gardening neatness ๐Ÿ™‚ PS the other half has purchased 9V batteries and copper wire to make slug “zappers”. If it ever works I will let you know but I think you may be lucky and not have many.

  4. oh wow, that is an amazing success story Annie, that’s so awesome ๐Ÿ™‚
    Yep, I spent the weekend going around with the copper tape, little sods are munching my courgettes!!!!

    I think it was one of the most amazing things this year, being able to give my neighbours lots of plants because no one was able to buy things. I think it was very much appreciated.

    Now I’ve just had a thought, I’m not sure if it might be useful for you but I’ve befriended an Irish YouTuber called Niall, and we are going to be doing a lot of collaboration videos and he’s going to be guest blogging here, so I wonder if it might be useful for you (weather and all). Also, he has a very different garden from me, so will be doing lots of different stuff ๐Ÿ™‚
    Niall Garden’s (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCrQTFldxfxr-_tmG-vlL7Bg)

    Pop over and have a look, leave him a wee message to let him know I sent you.

    Hopefully, you might find some more useful stuff ๐Ÿ™‚

    OK off to work (at home but still being strict),

    Loving the updates on your garden, keep it going
    Eli

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